The last round in this group defined the final positions. The success of Milos in the game with Morozevich made him first, and a short draw with Dreev allowed Azmaiparashvili to hold on the second place, because the keen duel between Aleksandrov and Gulko resulted in a draw after 70 moves were made.
Morozevich - Milos [B30]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e6 4. O-O Nge7 5. Re1 Nd4 6. Nxd4 cxd4 7. d3 g6 8. Ba4
The black pawn on d4 somewhat constrains Whites play on the queenside and at the same time it reduces the opportunities of Whites dark-squared bishop. Usually White attempts to annihilate it on the eighth move with 8. c3, though not always successfully. In this game A. Morozevich chooses another method.
8... Bg7 9. Nd2 O-O 10. f4 d6 11. Nf3 Bd7 12. Bb3 a5 13. a4 b5 14. axb5 Bxb5
Black breaks through on the queenside, but the other flank stays for a moment uncovered without the light-squared bishop. White hurries to make use of this circumstance.
A forced capture, because in case of 15... exf5?! there was an unpleasant 16. Bg5.
16. Ng5 h6 17. exf5 Nxf5 18. Nxf7
A piece is sacrificed for the sake of maintaining the initiative.
Black should not be very greedy. In case of an erroneous 18... Kxf7? 19. Bxe6+ Kf6 20. Qf3 Kg6 21. Qg4+ he might have to resign.
19. Bxe6 Qf6 20. Qf3 Raa7 21. Bxf7+ Qxf7 22. Rf1 Bd7
The stage of complications is over. White got a rook and a pawn for two light pieces and thus nearly restored the material balance.
No 23. g4 because of 23... Qg6.
23... a4 24. c4 Qg6 25. Qe4 Kh7 26. b4
White could have created tension on the queenside with 26. b3, but probably he did not want to encounter 26... Ne3 27. Qxg6+ Kxg6 28. Rfc1 a3 with the idea 29... Bf5.
Now again 26... Ne3!? 27. Qxg6+ Kxg6 28. Rfc1 a3 with the idea 29...Bf5 deserved attention.
27. h3 h5 28. Rae1
Black overlooked a promising opportunity: 28... Re7! 29. Qf4 (no 29. Qa8?? because of 29... Bb7, and in case of 29. Qf3 there was 29... Nh4 29. Qd5 Ne3) 29... Rxe1 30. Rxe1 (30. Bxe1? was bad because of 30... Ne3 31. Rf2 Bxh3) 30... Bh6 31. Qf2 Ne3 whereafter White would have serious problems to come from the squares on d3, g2 and h3.
29. Rf2 Be5 30. Qa8??
This blunder loses Whites game. After a normal 30. Ref1 Bg3 31. Re2 Re7 32. Qf3 all the struggle would be still ahead, but now it will be over in several moves.
30... Bb7 31. Qe8 Bg3 32. Ref1 Bxf2+ 33. Rxf2 Rg7 34. Qxg6+
Kxg6 35. Bf4 h4 36. b5 Kf6 37. Kh2 Ke6 38. Re2+ Kd7 0-1 White
The players of this group showed record results in the last round. In the game between the home players Ye Jiangchuan and Xu Jun the latter needed a victory notwithstanding that he played Black. The leader of the group Ye Jiangchuan gained profit from this fact: he got a solid position and waited for unfounded actions of his opponent whereafter he used the weak points of his pawn structure and thus reserved for himself the non-joint first place in the group. The other two games were also keen, but, whereas the English grandmaster Nigel Short managed to overwhelm Mikhail Gurevich in a positional manner, the game between two Ukrainian grandmasters Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov was very complex and eventful. V. Ivanchuk was more lucky and joined N. Short at the second qualifying place.
Short - Gurevich [C11]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bc4 Nc6 9. c3 e5 10. d5 Nb8 11. Qe2 Bf5 12. Bd3
Usually White continues 12. O-O-O, 12. O-O or 12. Ng3 in this position. The latter was played in a very interesting game Leko - Shirov (Frankfurt (active), 2000) which developed similarly to the present game until the twentieth move: 12... Bg4 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Nd7 15. Ne4 Be7 16. O-O-O Bd6 17. g4 Rb8 18. g5 b5 19. Bd3 b4 20. Qf5 (20. c4!?) 20... bxc3 21. b3 Rb4 ? with unclear play.
12... Bxe4 13. Bxe4 Nd7 14. O-O-O Be7
White gets the strong square e4 which allows him to begin an advance on the kingside.
15... Bd6 16. Kb1 Rb8 17. h4 b5 18. Ng5 g6 19. Bc2 b4 20. c4
Unlike the mentioned game Leko - Shirov White does not allow Black to open up the files on the queenside.
20... Nc5 21. Qe3 Qf6 22. h5 h6 23. Ne4 Nxe4 24. Bxe4
Apart from the heavy pieces there are only two bishops of different colours on the board, and still White has an obvious and stable advantage because his bishop covers both flanks whereas Blacks just plays the role of a supporting pawn. Moreover, Black cannot defend the pawn h6 and prevent the advantage c4-c5 at the same time.
24... g5 25. c5
Whites central pawns begin their advance. Blacks blockade on the dark squares was run.
Be7 26. Rc1 Rb5?!
26... Qf4 deserved attention, though after 27.Qe2 White kept all the merits of his position.
Now the opportunities of the black queen are restricted until the minimum.
At the cost of a pawn Black tries to open the dark squares in the centre for his pieces.
28. Bxe4 Rfb8 29. Bd3?
White was conducting the whole game very well, but with his last move he gives to his opponent a chance to begin an attack and thus to get out of the difficult position. After 29. Rhf1 or 29. Rh3 Blacks position was really poor.
Black has missed his chance. After 29...Rxc5! 30. Rxc5 Bxc5 31. Qxc5 he had 31... Qf3! he equalised the play.
30. Rh3 Bf8 31. Rf3 Qe7 32. Qxe7!
Notwithstanding the presence of the bishops of different colours on the board White is not afraid of an endgame. He has many important pluses: a passed pawn, active pieces and a damaged pawn chain by his opponent.
32... Bxe7 33. d6 cxd6 34. c6 Rc8 35. c7
35. Bc4 d5 36. Bb3 Rc7 37. Rf5 looked also good.
35... Rc5 36. Rxc5 dxc5 37. Bc4 Rxc7 38. Rxf7 Kh8 39. Kc2
Black is lost despite the material balance. There is no way to get rid of the unpleasant binding on the seventh horizontal. In case of 39... Bd6 White had 40. Rf6.
40. Kb3 a5 41. f3
A useful prophylactic move. In case of an immediate 41. Ka4 White encountered 41... Rd4 42. Rxe7 (if 42. Be6, then 42... Bd8) 42... Rxc4 43. Kxa5 Rxg4.
Black loses his temper and hurries to cut short his torments. After 41... Ra7 42. Ka4 Rb7 43. b3 (variations like 43. Kxa5 Bd8+ or 43. Be6 Rc7 44. Bf5 Kg8 45. Rh7 c4 are unnecessary for White) 43... Rc7 44. Kb5 Black would have suffered a crushing defeat soon.
42. Rxe7 a4+ 43. Kxa4 Rxc4 44. Kb5 Rc2 45. b3 Kg8 46. Re5 Rxa2 47. Rxc5 Ra8 48. Kxb4
Black is hopeless without two pawns in a rook endgame.
48... Rf8 49. Rf5 Rb8+ 50. Kc3 Rc8+ 51. Kb2 Rb8 52. f4 1-0 Black resigned.
The success of E. Bareev in the game with A. Fedorov gave him the first place in the group. The other two leaders, S. Movsesian and P. Svidler, preferred to delay the final decision and agreed to a draw quickly. The fact that they still will have to play with each other without participation of the home player Zhang Zhong became obvious after the latter, as if by a miracle, escaped a defeat in the game against A. Rizouk, but the draw did not allow him to continue the struggle for the second qualifying place.
Bareev - Fedorov [E73]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Bg5
In this important game E. Bareev chose his old and well proved weapon against the Kings Indian Defence, the Averbakh Variation.
6... Na6 7. f4 Qe8 8. Nf3 e5 9. fxe5 dxe5 10. d5 h6 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. a3 c5
12... Qe7 13. O-O Rd8 14. Rb1 c5 15. Qd2 Bg7 16. Rfd1 Bd7 17. b4 Qd6 18. Qe3 Bf8 19. Nb5 Bxb5 20. cxb5 Nc7 21. Nd2 cxb4 22. axb4 Ne8 23. Nc4 occurred in the game Mohr - Miles (Bad Woerishofen, 1990) with slightly better chances by White.
13. O-O Bd7 14. Rb1 Qe7 15. b4 Qd6 16. Nb5 Qb6
A. Fedorov needed a victory at any cost in this game, so he rejected the line 16... Bxb5 17. cxb5 Nc7 18. Qd2 cxb4 19. axb4 which would have been similar to the game Mohr - Miles.
17. Kh1 Rac8 18. Qe1 Bg7 19. Qg3 cxb4
There was an opportunity to maintain tension with 19... Rfe8, but Black decided that it was time for action.
20. axb4 Bxb5 21. cxb5 Nb8?!
Probably 21... Nc7 22. Nxe5 Bxe5 23. Qxe5 Rce8! 24. Qf4 (24. Qf6 Qxf6 25. Rxf6 Rxe4 26. Bf3 was dangerous because of 26... Rd4 with a dreadful threat of 27... Ne8) 24... Nxd5 with an equality was more reliable.
22. Nxe5 Qd4
White should act decisively or Black can take the initiative.
23... Rxf7 24. Rxf7 Kxf7 25. Bg4 Rd8 26. Be6+ Ke7 27. Rf1 Bf6?!
Black defends not in the best way. There was a better 27... Be5 28. Qxg6 Rf8 29. Rc1 (of course no 29. Rxf8?? because of 29... Qd1+, and 29. Rf7+ Rxf7 30. Qxf7+ Kd6 31. Qf8+ Kc7 was impossible, because 32. Qc5+ Qxc5 33. bxc5 a5 lost Whites game, whereas in case of 29. Bf5 there was 29... Qb6) 29... Qb2 (in case of 29... Qc3 there was a simple 30. Qxh6) 30. Qxh6 Rh8 31. Qg5+ Kd6, and all the struggle was ahead.
28. Qxg6 Rf8 29. h3?!
29. Qxh6 left better chances for a successful attack.
A major mistake which might lose Whites game. After 30. Rc1! Qc3 (there is no 30... Qe3?? because of 31. Qh7+ Kd6 32. Qc7#) 31. Qxh6 Qg3 32. Qh7+ Kf6! (in case of 32... Bg7 there was 33. Bf5) 33. Rf1+ Bf4 (33... Kg5? was bad because of 34. h4+!) 34. Qf5+ Kg7 35. Qg4+ Qxg4 36. Bxg4 Bd6 the chances of both sides were approximately equal.
30... Qb6 31. Qh5
Generally, an exchange of the queen is objectionable, but there are too few resources for conducting the attack.
31... Qxb5 32. Rd1 Rf6 33. Qg4 Kd6 34. Rc1 Nd7 35. Qg8 Qxb4
35... Nf8 looked good too.
36. Bxd7 Kxd7 37. Qg4+ Kd6 38. Qc8
Virtually, this blunder defined the winner of group C. After 38... Ke7 Whites chances for a draw were very low.
39. Qb8+ Kd7 40. Qxe5 1-0 Black resigned.
The leader of the group, V. Anand, held his position easily. He got a reliable position with Black against V. Tkachiev in the Petrosian Variation of the Queens Indian Defence, and all attempts of his opponent to break through his position were futile. B. Gelfand who played with the outsider of the group M. Tissir might join him, but their game had a sensational result. Gelfand failed to win. Thus he and Tkachiev followed Anand in the table of results, because P. Tregubov took no real efforts to win in his game against A. Khalifman and agreed to a draw rather quickly.
Gelfand - Tissir [E04]
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Qa4+
Gelfand refused to follow the game Khalifman - Tissir (Shenyang (round 3), 2000) which after 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 a6 (bad was 7... b5 8. a4 c6 because of 9. axb5 cxb5 10. Ng5!) 9. Qxc4 b5 10. Qc2 Bb7 11. Rc1 Bd6 12. Bg5 Nbd7 13. Bxf6 Nxf6 14. Nbd2 Rc8 15. Nb3 Be4 16. Qc3 gave a perceptible advantage to White. Probably he did not want to encounter something like 7... a6 or 7... c6 (Black trying to keep the extra pawn) while in case of an immediate 7. Qc2 he had to reckon with 7... b5.
7... Bd7 8. Qxc4 Bc6 9. O-O a5?!
Black is wasting time. Usually Black struggles for an equality here with 9... Bd5 or 9... Nbd7.
10. Nc3 O-O 11. Rfe1
Whites plan implies a advance e2-e4, and Black has to take some measures against it.
11... Ne4 12. Bf4 Bd6 13. Bxd6 Qxd6 14. Qd3 Nxc3 15. bxc3
Of course no 15. Qxc3, because after 15... Be4 Black was OK.
Black begins to surrender his lines. 15... Nd7 was possible, though after 16. e4 in case of an active 16... e5 Black had to reckon with 17. Nh4.
16. Bxf3 c6
After 16... Nc6 17. Rab1 Blacks position was also poor.
17. Rab1 Qc7 18. Rb2 Nd7 19. c4 Rad8 20. Qa3 b6 21. Reb1 Rb8 22. Bg2 c5
Whites centre is stirring to action.
23... e5 was totally bad because of 24. Qa4!, and if 24... f5, then 25. d6!.
24. Qc3 exd5 25. Bxd5 Nc6 26. a3 Nd4 27. e3 Nc6 28. Rb5 Ne5 29. f4 Nd7 30. e4 Nf6 31. e5 Nxd5 32. cxd5
A showy position. It seems to be impossible that the avalanche of Whites pawns in the centre will be contained.
32... f6 33. R5b2
Not enough was 33. d6 Qc6 34. Qb3+ Kh8 35. Rxb6 Rxb6 36. Qxb6 because of 36... Qe4! with a perpetual check to the white king.
33... fxe5 34. fxe5 Rfe8 35. d6 Qc6 36. Rd1 b5 37. d7 Red8 38. Rd6 Qe4 39. Rf2?
This move loses most part of Whites huge advantage. After 39. e6! c4 (39... b4 was not enough because of 40. Qxc5 Rf8 41. h4) 40. Rc2 Rf8 41. Rc1! White made Black resign with 42. Re1.
39... b4 40. axb4 axb4 41. Qxc5 b3 42. Rdd2
After 42. Rb6 Ra8 43. Qc3 Rxd7 44. Qxb3+ Qd5 there was a draw in the four-rook endgame despite Whites extra pawn.
Black take use of his chance, and this tactical blow rewards him with a draw.
43. Rxd7 b2 44. Rd1
After 44. Rxb2 Qe1+! 45. Kg2 Rxb2+ 46. Kh3 Qf1+ 47. Kg4 Qe2+ (47... h5+?! was weaker because of 48. Kg5) 48. Kf4 Qf1+ 49. Kg4 Whites king suffered from a perpetual check, and in case of a venturesome 44. Rxg7+? Kxg7 45. Qc7+ Kh6 46. Rf6+ Kh5 47. Qf7+ Qg6! White even lost the game.
44... b1Q 45. Rxb1 Rxb1+ 46. Rf1 Rxf1+ 47. Kxf1 Qh1+ 48.
Qg1 Qe4 49. Qc5 Qh1+ 50. Qg1 1/2-1/2 Draw.
"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch
"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.